Jan. 16, 2012
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) – Eli Carter had 13 points to lead a balanced attack as Rutgers took a 65-58 victory over Notre Dame on Monday night.
Jerome Seagears, who hit four big free throws in the final minute, and Austin Johnson each had 10 points for Rutgers (11-8, 3-3 BIG EAST), which is off to its best conference start since going 4-2 in 2003-04.
Gilvydas Biruta and Mike Poole added nine points apiece for the Scarlet Knights.
Eric Atkins had 15 points for the Irish, (11-8, 3-3), who dropped to 1-7 in games away from home. Scott Martin added 11 points and Jack Cooley had nine points and nine rebounds.
Notre Dame trailed the entire second half but pulled within 61-57 with 1:10 left. Seagears then hit two free throws and, after Atkins made 1 of 2, Seagears hit two more to make it 65-58 with 23.8 seconds remaining.
Trailing 39-31 at intermission, Notre Dame hit three straight shots to pull within 41-39 less than three minutes into the second half. Rutgers then reclaimed a comfortable lead with six straight points to go up 47-39.
The lead fluctuated between four and eight for the remainder of the game. Carter hit a big 3-pointer to put the Knights up 61-53 with 5:14 left. Rutgers would not score for the next 4:34, but Notre Dame could muster only four points as it missed the front end of a one-and-one, committed a turnover and missed two shots.
The Irish shot just 39.3 percent (11 for 28) in the second half while Rutgers hit just 33.3 percent (9 for 27) after both teams shot well in the first. Notre Dame finished 44.2 percent (25 for 52) overall and Rutgers hit 43.6 percent (24 for 55).
Notre Dame came out in a zone but switched to man-to-man as Rutgers hit 5 of 8 3-pointers in the first half.
After missing their first two shots, the Irish hit seven straight for a 16-13 lead. Rutgers responded with a 16-5 run to regain control at 28-21 and opened its biggest leads of the game at 35-26 and 37-28.
Both teams shot well in the half, with the Irish hitting 50 percent (12 for 24) while Rutgers was 53.6 percent (15 for 28).
The loss, Notre Dame’s second straight, kept coach Mike Brey one win shy of 250 for his career with the Irish. Brey is also one win shy of tying Villanova’s Rollie Massimino for fifth place all-time in BIG EAST victories with a combined 123 regular-season and conference tournament wins.
Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey Quotes
“I thought defensively that we did a good enough job to win. It’s tough to win in this league when you’re scoring in the 50s. I felt we had good looks again tonight. Shooting 7-for-20 (from three-point range) is something to build on.”
“Rutgers made big shots at key times. I loved how we battled, but they made plays when they had to. They made the little plays to win and we made those same plays at Louisville. We couldn’t make enough of them tonight and we also missed some free throws and had some turnovers.”
“We’re still playing around with our lineup in an effort to try and help guys. I liked the way we looked in the second half tonight with Pat (Connaughton) in there … all nine of our guys have to be ready to play.”